Friday, 19 December 2008


This building, at the corner of Cooper Square and St. Mark's Place, has enjoyed many different types of colourful and intriguing usages. The Valencia Hotel was here and offered the value and 'laissez-faire' attitude needed to make it a popular destination for a 'covert rendezvous'; also known as a 'hot sheets hotel'. Featured in James Leo Herlihy's 1971 novel 'The Season of the Witch.

Having undergone refurbishment, and change of clientele it is now the St Marks Hotel, a 3 star budget hotel, offering (for New York) good value basic en-suite rooms from $140 per night per room.

Kevin Michael "GG" Allin (1956-1993) relatively dressed and 'unslashed' at start of a gig

The Valencia Hotel was the home at one time to GG Allin, a punk rock singer-songwriter and musician who is best remembered for his notorious live performances that typically featured wildly transgressive acts such as him defecating and urinating on stage. Often it also involved rolling in feces, eating excrement, committing self-mutilation, performing naked and committing violent actions towards the audience. Whilst not unnaturally more notorious for his stage antics, he recorded prolifically, not only in the punk rock genre, but also in spoken word, country and Rolling Stones-influenced rock.

In late 1989, he was charged with the rape and torture of a female acquaintance. At first he denied the charges, claiming the woman was a willing participant but later Allin entered into a plea bargain for lesser charges and was imprisoned for 16 months. Despite threats of on-stage suicide, Allin died of a heroin overdose in NYC on June 29, 1993, in the Manhattan apartment of friends, John Handley and Dwanna Yount.

The Five Spot Cafe made its debut in this building with a long residency by Thelonius Monk in 1957. Monk's seven month stint at the club was a landmark for both the artist and the club. He was backed by John Coltrane on tenor sax. As well as confirming Monk's genius it also made the Five Spot the East Village's premier Jazz club. Many other Jazz greats performed at the club and several live recordings from the club have been released over the years including Thelonius Monk's 'At the Five Spot', 'Blues Five Spot' and 'Discovery! Live at the Five Spot' and Eric Dolphy's 'The Five Spot Volumes 1 & 2.'

The Five Spot Cafe made a massive contribution to cementing New York City's reputation as the 'Capital City of Jazz'.

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